The month of January brought the real winter to Europe. Temperatures below the freezing point and the white glory up to Majorca. Many regions of the earth are permanently covered with snow and ice. In this case, the snowmobile comes into action.
The snowmobile is also referred to as snow-cat or snow motorcycle. The sitting position on the snowmobile really reminds of sitting on a motorcycle. In addition to that, the arm position with both hands at the handlebar is also like that ob a motorcycle. However, snowmobiles differ from a motorcycle in many important points. Instead of a front wheel, the snowmobile has two skids that are connected with the handlebar. No rotary handle is used for accelerating, but a thumb throttle control. The engine power is transmitted via an automatic V-belt transmission to a centrally located power track made from rubber. Normally, the engine powers ranges from 40 to 300 hp. The driver and the vehicle are connected via a cord. In case the cord is disconnected, because of the driver falling off the vehicle, the engine is automatically switched off.
The precursors of modern snow-cats had a propeller engine. Around the year 1900, different engineers in Russia and Germany developed the first "Aerosani". "Aerosani" is Russian and means "air sled" and refers to as propeller sled or snowmobile with propeller engine. The drove on three to four skids and were equipped with a pusher propeller that was driven by a combustion engine. Depending on the engine power and the loading, they reached speeds of up to 140 kph. In 1922, Joseph-Armand Bombardier built the first modern snowmobile called "Ski-Dog". Later on, it became the "Ski-Doo", which has been manufactured by the company Bombardier Recreational Products until today. Further known brands are Arctic Cat, Polaris and Yamaha Motor.
The snowmobiles can be used in very versatile ways. The northern parts of North America, Asia and Europe are largely covered with ice. The landscapes are difficult to cross in many places. Where vehicles with two or four wheels will get stuck, people take snowmobiles for transporting goods and tools for their basic necessities across rough terrain. In Central Europe, snowmobiles are rather seen on the slopes of the winter sports regions than in normal ice-free traffic. Many mountain rescue services use the snowmobiles for transporting injured skiers and snowboarders. Using the snowmobile for one's own fun is much more pleasant. Those considering traditional winter sports on the slope too boring take the snowmobile. There are varied offerings. More and more alpine holiday resorts offer beginner courses and guided tours. Extreme athletes show off the most spectacular way of driving a snowmobile at the "X-Games" in the American winter sports resort of Aspen. Flips? No problem!